Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel was "whipped" in public today, as a crowd watched and took videos. It happened to be a ritual for "Govardhan Puja" festivities.
Bhupesh Baghel, 60, is seen in a video holding out his right arm as a man gives him eight lashes. The Chief Minister later embraces his "attacker", identified as Birendra Thakur.
"Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel getting whipped as part of a ritual on the occasion of Govardhan Puja in Durg," said a caption by news agency ANI.
The ritual took place at a village called Janjgiri that Mr Baghel reportedly visits every year. Until last year, it was Birendra Thakur's father who did the honours, Mr Baghel told villagers in a speech.
"Now Bharosa Thakur's son is carrying on this tradition. Our forefathers had these sweet little traditions that are popular and bring us a lot of joy...These rituals in villages are meant for the good of farmers. They also keep us grounded," the Chief Minister said.
The Chief Minister's office says it is an annual tradition for him to "bear" the whipping as he prays for the good of the state and the end of all difficulties.
The whip is a special one that is believed to bring prosperity and good fortune, villagers claim.
Mr Baghel is fresh out of a crisis when one of his ministers, TK Singh Deo, challenged his leadership and insisted that the Congress leadership had promised him rotational chief minister ship.
A collapse was staved off after both Mr Baghel and Mr Deo met with Rahul Gandhi.